The Cultural Memory of Society: A Systems Theoretical Approach

By Yunus Yoldaş and Özlem Becerik Yoldaş.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: October 16, 2014 $US5.00

The concept of "culture" originated historically in Niklas Luhmann’s 18th century theoretical systems analysis. With the exception of symbols or values, distinctions and comparisons play a vital role in the core of the modern concept of culture. In the interest of comparisons, everything is perceived as culture by compared observation. Thus, the concept of culture in Luhmann’s sense is an invention of communication that he calls "semantics". Luhmann defines culture or semantics as a stock of "subjects", whose social systems can help them. To Luhmann, society’s modes of communication produces culture. In the context of culture, Luhmann refers to the memory of society. Culture is perceived as the memory of modern society and social systems, which acts as a filter of obsolescence or memory. Memory distinguishes the function of the present, past, or future and does not act as merely an archive for the storage of knowledge. The aim of this paper is to analyze Luhmann’s cultural theory in depth and to outline how the concept of memory systems, individual memory, and political memory differ.

Keywords: Niklas Luhmann, Theory Systems, Culture, Memory, Society

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 4, October 2014, pp.21-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: October 16, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 398.512KB)).

Dr. Yunus Yoldaş

Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Çanakkale, Turkey

Dr. Özlem Becerik Yoldaş

Lecturer, Department of Public Administration, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Çanakkale, Turkey

Özlem BECERİK YOLDAŞ is employed as a lecturer at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Public Administration since 2006. She studied journalism and communication sciences and political sciences at Universität Wien. Her research interests include comparative politics, political theories, journalism and communication.